10 november, 2009 15:36  

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin conducted a meeting of the State Border Commission


“We expect to launch a common foreign trade control system, validate the Union Customs Code, finalize the shifting of the checkpoints to the outer border of Belarus and significantly simplify the procedure on the Russian-Kazakh border between January 1 and July 1, 2010.`”

Vladimir Putin At the meeting of the State Border Commission

Vladimir Putin's opening remarks:

Good afternoon, colleagues,

This State Border Commission meeting will be held via teleconference. We can see our colleagues in the Federal Districts on the screen there. Let us say hello to them. Good afternoon!

We have a wide range of issues to discuss, including cooperation with neighbouring countries, improving border infrastructure, which will be necessary for the Olympic Games in Sochi, and installing modern equipment to increase the efficiency of border checkpoints.

We will also discuss fundamental border policies in light of the fact that Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus will soon form a common customs territory.

I would like to point out that Russian regions are actively increasing their cooperation with their neighbours. Our country is open to a mutually beneficial partnership, and this has already yielded positive results. In the areas near our borders, cultural ties and business activity are growing.

We are working on large-scale projects together with our foreign colleagues in a variety of areas, ranging from energy and advanced technologies to the environment and agriculture.

Meanwhile, areas near our borders face quite a few problems we must address, including the significant influx of immigrants from neighbouring countries, many of whom are not being properly registered and accommodated. Cross-border crime is also rising, and so are drug trafficking, the illegal arms trade, and poaching.

These problems cannot be effectively resolved through the use of force alone. The situation can only be addressed through an integrated approach. We should begin by improving the social and economic situation in the areas and communities near our borders. We must improve their infrastructure, raise the living standards of the people living in these areas.

Regional authorities should pay more attention to choosing investment projects that are backed by foreigners. It is clear that initiatives aimed at creating new production facilities in Russia, as well as the widespread introduction of cutting-edge technologies, should be given priority attention. This is unquestionable.

At the same time, all these projects should be in line with our long-term plans for regional development and should not contradict the national interests of the Russian Federation.

Another important aspect of our border policy that we are going to discuss today is a system of border control in conditions of a common customs territory.

As you know, the Russia-Kazakhstan-Belarus Customs Union will come into force in the near future. I hope it will come into effect beginning in January 2010, when the relevant legislation is finalized and we will begin moving checkpoints to the outer border of the common customs space.

And from January 1 to July 1, 2010, we plan to enact a common system for regulating foreign trade, validate the Union's Customs Code, finish moving checkpoints to the outer border of Belarus, and significantly relax our control at the Russian-Kazakh section of the border.

Such integration will require close cooperation between Custom Union member states' law enforcement and supervisory agencies. Only by agreeing on a unified approach can we create an effective system of border control for the outer border of a common customs space.

I am asking you to work with our partners to develop additional infrastructure along the Union's common borders. All the details of this issue should be worked out.

Colleagues, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that these will be highly complicated processes in terms of administrative, financial and law enforcement issues. This Union faces many challenges. I think all of you clearly understand that if we eventually manage to bring this work to its logical end, this will be the first real instance of integration in the post-Soviet space. For its part, the Russian Federation is prepared to go its part of the road and fulfil all of its commitments.

Further. The 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics also require us to improve border infrastructure, including by constructing, rebuilding and reequipping checkpoints on roads and railways, and along waterways and air traffic routes.

Providing checkpoints with up-to-date communications systems and a new generation of passport control equipment for the Olympic Games is also a high priority. We must ensure that participants of and visitors to the Olympic Games can cross our borders quickly and easily.

The use of modern telecommunications technologies will help speed up the operations of control agencies, as will the implementation of the "one window" concept.

Law-enforcement agencies' information exchange system should also be working efficiently to help them fight crime and prevent terrorism.

That is the set of issues I suggest we discuss today.